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The importance of job evaluations in benchmarking expatriate salaries

Job evaluation has a crucial role to play in benchmarking expatriate salaries and benefits packages. It allows consistent and reliable comparisons in a diverse field, aiding the management and benchmarking of employees around the world.

Position, not personality

The primary purpose of job evaluation is to enable the comparison of seniority between jobs either within or across organisations. Therefore, a job evaluation system must be able to accurately measure the relative weights of different jobs so that they can be accurately compared. This accuracy is achieved by a system that focuses on the position, rather than the personality, of an employee. It ignores any elements relating to the identity of an individual – be they physical or character-based – as well as their performance in the role and, indeed, the salary that they are paid. Stripped of their personality, the employee can then be placed into a seniority structure based solely on the job position that they occupy. In this way, a job evaluation system can be comprehensive whilst maintaining its objectivity and reliability.

The ECA job evaluation system

ECA’s job evaluation system has been designed and developed for use by global mobility professionals who wish to compare jobs across different countries, industries and organisations. The system adopts a factor-based approach, with the seniority scores – expressed as ‘ECA points’ – calculated by measuring the size of the job in terms of the following key factors:

•    area of responsibility and the type of work and decision-making that this entails
•    extent of influence on business results
•    degree of risk and budgetary control which the employee has
•    relationships, both internal and external, that the position requires to be maintained
•    position of the job within the company seniority structure

ECA points can be mapped to other major job evaluation systems or internal job grading systems, enabling a simple conversion which opens up a range of benchmarking options. 

Benefits for global mobility practitioners

Job evaluation makes benchmarking assignees easier and more accurate by making jobs comparable around the world using an objective measure. ECA’s expatriate benchmarking surveys use this system to enable companies from all over the world to benchmark their diverse groups of assignees with their peers. 

Job evaluation is key to ECA’s MyExpatriate Market Pay survey which uses ECA points to compare salaries of expatriate staff in a variety of positions from all over the world, as shown in the chart below. 


The use of the ECA points system allows for the benchmarking of jobs across a wide spectrum of seniority levels and industry groups, regardless of the host location. As a result, participants can easily compare the salaries of their expatriates from any position in their seniority structure against other expatriates working in that country ranked at a similar level. This can help justify to expatriates the salaries that they receive, adding consistency to a global mobility policy.

Use of a job evaluation system such as ECA’s is key, as utilising job titles or job families to accurately benchmark expatriates is almost impossible. Often used as the primary indicator of job seniority in local benchmarking surveys, job titles are an unsatisfactory gauge when comparing expatriates. This is because the actual implications of a job title can vary considerably between country, industry group and organisation size, and in some markets the sample of peers to benchmark against is limited.

For example, from data submitted to ECA’s 2017 MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey, the seniority of expatriates in China with the job title ’General Manager’ ranged from 85 to 165 ECA points when evaluated using the ECA system. The employee evaluated at the lowest end of this range is a General Manager of a satellite office of a small organisation, whereas the employee at the highest end is the General Manager of a large multinational company with a substantial presence in the country. Clearly, a direct job level comparison between these employees would be misleading and could cause a considerable difference in salaries to be misinterpreted.

A broad, objective and dependable job evaluation system is therefore an essential tool for global mobility professionals, whose industry is inherently diverse. In order to take advantage of the ECA system, subscribing clients receive up to ten job evaluations free of charge as part of their subscription package. Meanwhile, the 2018 MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey is now open to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. You do not need a job evaluation to take part as, if required, ECA will be able to estimate the job level based on data provided for the survey. By submitting data for expatriates around the world, clients can benchmark their assignees’ salary and benefits with their peers in country-specific reports.


If your company already operates a job evaluation system such as Hay, we can provide conversion tables which will translate your evaluation scores into ECA points. As soon as you know the points for a particular position, you can then use ECA’s remuneration surveys, including the MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey to benchmark against other nationals or expatriates. 

ECA’s MyExpatriate Market Pay reports provide an in-depth and personalised guide with which to compare your current expatriate salary and benefits policies against over 10,000 jobs across a wide range of industry groups in 140 countries around the world. The survey is open until 1 September and participants receive free country-specific benchmarking reports for each country that they submit data for.

  Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.

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